New Audio: Daptone Records First Reggae Signing, Queens, NYC’s The Frightnrs and Their Bitter, Aching Lament “Nothing Left To Say”

Initially comprised of Dan Klein (vocals), Chuck Patel (organ, piano), Rich Terrana (drums, vocals) and Preet (bass, vocals), along with Norihiro Kikuta (guitar) and Mike Torres (percussion), Queens-based act The Frightnrs have developed a reputation across the city’s DIY and soundsystem scenes for an aesthetic that draws from Jamaican Rocksteady, a revered genre that took over Jamaican airwaves in 1967 and yielding some of the country’s most beloved and popular songs before petering out by the end of 1968, 80s Rub A Dub, punk rock, ska and reggae in a way that’s a subtle redefinition of what a contemporary reggae act can sound like. In fact, the act’s debut effort received airplay from reggae and radio legend David “Ram Jam” Roddigan and Mad Decent’s Diplo, who later released the band’s EP last year.

After the release of their EP, renowned New York-based funk and soul label Daptone Records released the band’s critically acclaimed cover of Etta James‘ “I’d Rather Go Blind” before officially signing the band as their first reggae signing based on two things — the strength of their local reputation and on the fact that they stumbled on to the perfect band to a long desired Rocksteady album, with Victor Axelrod, best known as Ticklah behind the dials and knobs. As the band’s Chuck Patel explains in press notes “Rocksteady was the first style of Jamaican music that Dan [Klein] and me fell in love with, and the idea of making a classic album for a classic label like Daptone was a dream come true.”  As soon as the band was officially signed, the members of the band immediately went to work with the understanding that they had to work within Daptone Records’ tight frame and constraints — mainly they had to write only Rocksteady songs, which forced the band to display a singular focus. In fact, as Axelrod adds “The fact that the direction of the album was determined by it being a Daptone record was crucial.  We wanted to make a solid and cohesive record and so chose songs that most fit the Daptone aesthetic and the result was the best music that Dan and the Frightnrs had ever made with truly expanded levels of creativity.”

Sadly as the band was recording their full-length debut effort Nothing Left to Say, which is slated for a September 2, 2016 release, the band’s frontman and co-founding member Dan Klein was diagnosed with ALS in last November and although he was able to finish the major work during the recording sessions, Klein tragically died last month making the recorded effort a testament to their friend and founder. As for the album’s first single, album title track “Nothing More To Say,” the track reminds me of the sort of stuff I’d hear during Dahved Levy‘s WBLS radio show. And although the song possesses an upbeat, bouncy riddim, the song is actually a bitter and aching lament from the song’s narrator about being devoted to a fickle and difficult lover, who may not have even loved him anyway — and as you can imagine the song’s narrator quickly recognizes that his relationship with this person was a lie. So he vows to pack up his stuff and go — and go as quickly as possible. Certainly, I’ve been there a couple of times as you have, and the song voices the bitter sense of confusion, heartache, regret and foolishness we’ve all felt at some point or another because of love.